Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is one of the most known Impressionists painters. His precubist style inspired one among many artits. His worldwide fame is linked with Picasso, apples and still lifes. But how well do you know Cézanne ?
1/ Cézanne’s late recognition
Cézanne waited a long time for his talent to be recognized. He was long ignored up to his 56 years old in 1895 when an exhibition was organised by Ambroise Vollard, a young art dealer.
The critiques quoted his work as the painting of a madman, sick of delirium tremens ».
Nowadays, Cézanne is critically acclaimed and his pictural works are among the most expensive worldwide.
2/ Cézanne, the portraitist
He is mostly famous for his apples life stills and Sainte-Victoire mountains (we stronly recommend a hike there with one of our friends tours) but Cézanne also produced about 200 portraits on a life work of about 1000 paintings. He worked these portraits with the same commitment as the life stills.
The artist has also done 26 self portraits et 24 portraits of his wife Hortense.
3/ Cézanne and the apples
The favourite genre of Cézanne was life stills and his favourite theme was apples. Apples are figured in about 70 paintings. This recurring theme may symbolize friendship and a childhood story that happened to Cézanne. Cézanne fought in school courtyard to protect his friend Emile Zola. The day after, Emile thanked him by giving him a present : a basket full of apples.
4/ Cézanne, the self-taught genius artist
Cézanne learned his trade on the job by studying classic paintingsin museums: he actually never got trained in painting at any academy. Although he studied drawing, he was rejected from fine art school then from the Paris official art fair. he works his own technique how he feels and chooses inspiring models.
5/ Cézanne abandonned law school
Aix-en-Provence is a law city even today with many students dreaming to become lawyers and judges This was clearly not Cezanne’s dream. In 1858, Cézanne only spends a few weeks studying because of his father who wanted a law career for him. In 1858, he writes a peom to his friend à Zola where he expresses how much he hates the law school:
« Alas, I took the law tortuous route.
– I took, this is not the word, I’ve been forced !
The law, the horrible law study of entangled detours
made for 3 years my life a misery ! »
6/ Cézanne and Zola, a friendship broken by a book
Cézanne breaks from in 1886 from his childhood friendship with the great writer Emile Zola. Although very close, the two friends will never see each other anymore. Why? Cézanne recognized himself as the cursed and bitter character Claude Lantier in “The Masterpiece”, the first novel of Zola. Cézanne had never fogiven Emile Zola for this .
7/ 1886, the pivot year for Cézanne
In addition to the break-up from Zola, 1886 changes Cézanne personnel life as well. He gets maried in avril 1886, with Hortense Fiquet, his concubine and model for 16 years. His father dies in october leaving to Cézanne a large fortune ensuring his independance.
8/ Paul Cézanne’s regrets
In 1906, when a bust of Émile Zola, who died 4 years earlier, is inaugurated, Paul Cézanne shows his regrets about this broken friendship. he hasn’t seen the writer for 20 years but starts crying in front of the statue and the middle of the crowd.
9/ Cézanne, killed by his beloved Saint-Victory Mountain
On the 15th of octobre 1906, he installs his planté son easel facing the mountain he never stops figuring in his work. A big storm busrt outr but the painter contnues stubbornly his work : drenched and shivering of fever after coming back to his workshop, he dies on week later of pneumonia. Bedded, he wakes up at times to add a touche to an aquarelle installed next to his bed.
10/ Cézanne, father of the modern art
After his death, in 1907, the Automn art fair organizes a retrospective to Cézanne. As the one of 1895, this exhibition significantly influences other young painters , making Cézanne a pioneer of modern art, the fauves (les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”, the cubists or abstracts painters.
Picasso, said that « Cézanne was our father [to the modern artists] »